Mitch Menchaca Named New Director for Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture

Mitch Menchaca will join the city of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture as executive director on December 10.EXPAND
Mitch Menchaca will join the city of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture as executive director on December 10.
Courtesy of the city of Phoenix
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Mitch Menchaca has been named the new executive director for the city of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, effective December 10. Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher announced the news by press release on Thursday, October 25.

The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture is part of the Phoenix Arts Commission, created by the Phoenix City Council in 1985 to preserve the city's cultural heritage while furthering the arts in public and private sectors.

The executive director oversees public art, grants, cultural facilities, arts learning, and outreach. That includes working with an operating budget of about $4.7 million, plus funds generated through the city's percent-for-art program.

Menchaca was chosen following a national search, which called for “an experienced, innovative and collaborative leader" who could act as the city's chief advocate of arts and culture, by raising awareness and increasing participation in the arts.

Menchaca returns to Phoenix after leading the Local Arts Advancement Department at Americans for the Arts in Washington, D.C., which promotes the transformative power of arts through advocacy, research, leadership, and community connections.

Most recently, Menchaca served as executive director for the Association of California Symphony Orchestras. His previous experience also includes serving as the senior director of grants and programs at Arizona Commission on the Arts, where he worked on grant making, program budgeting, and constituent relations. 

Menchaca succeeds Gail Browne, who has served as executive director since March 2014. In July, Browne announced her plans to retire from the position by the end of the year.

"This is an opportune and ideal time, with changes happening around the city and with the city council," Browne told Phoenix New Times in July. "The work of this office is so important, and things are ripe for further change and growth."

Browne notes that several projects launched during her term will likely continue after her retirement.

"Our office has been working on diversity, equity, and inclusion, in public arts and grant programs," Browne says. "There's still a lot of discussion, and I hope the next director will take that conversation to the next level."
She's also been coordinating conversations between representatives of various art districts, looking for ways they can collaborate on communicating their unique offerings to community members.

Now, Browne’s focus is helping the city transition to new arts leadership.

"I'm really excited about everything the Office of Arts and Culture has to offer," Browne says. "There's a lot more work to be done to assure that we are responding to the needs of all the people who live in Phoenix."

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.